This week on Florida Matters, we're talking with nutrition experts about the keto diet and its health effects, from weight loss to cancer treatment.
Our guests include: Dom D'Agostino: Well Known Keto Expert and Associate Professor in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Angela Poff: Associate Researcher, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, USF Jenna Bell: Dietician, Triathlete and Senior Vice President of Pollock Communications Keto in a few words: The ketogenic diet, or "keto", is a diet very low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Bread, potatoes and even some "healthy" fruits, such as apples and bananas, are exhausted, while meats, cheeses and high-protein vegetables such as olives and avocados are present. "The ketogenic diet essentially changes your body's metabolism compared to a carbohydrate-burning metabolism. So, glucose would be your main fuel, as would a fatty acid metabolism and ketones, "said Dom D Agostino, keto expert, associate professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the USF. "You start to eat yourself." Following the diet removes insulin, a hormone that causes your body to burn more fat to refuel. The burning of fat in the liver produces ketone bodies that, according to scientists, can replace glucose (sugar) as a primary source of energy for your brain. Over time, this can help you resist peaks of hunger throughout the day, also known as cravings. The recent Keto boom Although D'Agostino has stated that the ketogenic diet has existed since the early 1920s, when the Mayo Clinic created it to treat epilepsy, it has only recently become increasingly popular. Jenna Bell is Senior Vice President of Pollock Communications, a company that works with Dietician of the day Annually publish a survey of dietitians on consumer health trends. "The ketogenic diet was not even on the list of trends seven years ago … a few years ago, it appeared … this year, it is No. 1," she said. According to this survey, the second most popular diet is the herbal diet, followed by intermittent fasting or eating only when you are hungry, instead of following a traditional diet of three large meals a day. "Polls show that snacks are what people do, and that largely depends on the millennial generation," said Bell. Intermittent fasting and keto often go hand in hand, as reducing cravings caused by ketosis and the high fat content of the diet can help you feel full for long periods of time. Not a cover solution Although the keto diet can work wonders for some people trying to lose weight, others may not be as effective. "I think more than anything, there is a unique answer that every individual will have," said Angela Poff, research associate at the USF Pharmacology and Molecular Physiology Department. "Some people seem to react very well to the ketogenic diet, but that's not always the case, it's not a blanket, a single size," said Poff, the key being being 39 adapt the diet to something that works. for you, this could mean setting your carbohydrate consumption to a level higher than what a standard keto diet requires. This is especially true for athletes, she said. D'Agostino said there was not much research on the long-term effects of a keto diet in a healthy person because it was primarily used for medical purposes before the last decade. He said that "biological markers" such as hemoglobin A1C, insulin and inflammatory markers generally go in the right direction for people on a keto diet – in these cases, while the HDL or "good" cholesterol increases. The only biomarker that can cause concern is LDL cholesterol, or "bad" cholesterol, which can increase in people who consume a diet low in carbohydrates and fat. "Doctors tend to worry about the elevation of LDL, but in the context of other biomarkers going in the right direction, I do not think there is as much of it." "Worry," D'Agostino said. He always recommends studying the long-term effects of the keto diet. Jenna Bell, graduate dietician, suggests to anyone who is interested in trying first to talk about the keto diet with her health care provider and collaborating with a nutritionist to develop the best possible plan. "Make sure you consume enough calories, enough food to meet your nutritional needs, this is where a dietitian can be very helpful," she said. "You do not want to fall into the fear of eating so you do not eat enough and feel tired or suffering from what happens when your protein intake is inadequate and suddenly your hair has become tainted. "sleep." Bell says to think about why you're changing your diet, whether it's for your overall well-being, lowering your blood pressure, treating a lipid imbalance, etc. Keto may not be your answer. You know, people always ask me that there is a real and a fake, and whether you like it or not, there are a million different diets to be healthy, "she said. must have some individuality here. " Medical benefits The keto diet has been used medically much longer than healthy people have used it for wellness plans. D'Agostino said that diet was the standard treatment for epilepsy until the arrival of drugs. It has also been shown to help treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. His colleague Poff is studying how the keto diet can be used to treat various forms of cancer, including brain cancer and breast cancer. "We have begun to understand that these ketone molecules themselves have many benefits," she said. "They are certainly more than just a molecule of energy that provides energy, they actually possess signaling properties. For example, they interact directly with our DNA to alter gene expression. "This is an aspect of the study that explains why ketosis can have an impact on cancer because you can literally alter the expressed genes and we know that gene expression changes cancer is a big problem. The role of the ketogenic diet in suppressing insulin may also play a role in cancer treatment. "If our insulin levels are high, almost all of the major growth and proliferation factors of cancer are related to insulin signaling. A very promising area of research therefore uses this diet to sensitize tumors so that other forms of therapy can work, "said Dom D & # 39; Agostino. Ketones help reduce inflammation and are also being studied in research on aging, he said. Research shows that the aging brain is less able to metabolize glucose, especially in cases of Alzheimer's disease or dementia, but still seems able to metabolize ketones, Poff said. She said that scientists are investigating whether providing more ketones in the body, whether through dietary changes or a ketone supplement, could help energize the brain with the aging of humans. With most current research in the early stages or clinical trials, it may be years before concrete results on the medicinal benefits of the human ketogenic diet are available. But Poff and D'Agostino said the first results are promising. You can hear a long version of this week's conversation on the Florida Matters podcast.